Why’s everyone squawking about shorebirds?
Spring is a lively time in Tofino. Following the return of the whales, we see the migration of thousands of coastal bird species pass through town. Flocking to our shores, they feed and rest before continuing along their northern journey to breed.
Our temperate ecosystem provides various attractive habitats. The trees, mudflats, and diverse shorelines attract an abundance of birds, including the largest population of Whimbrels in BC. Avid birders travel to this region in search of many different types, including flocks of rare and threatened species.
A popular spring festival that celebrates this massive migration is the Tofino Shorebird Festival. This three-day fest offers many opportunities to participate in birding for all levels of experience that include marine adventures, lectures, and workshops.
A common sight is the Western Sandpiper. These surface-feeders can be spotted flitting around the frothy shoreline in large groups. Their bill and tongue enables them to “slurp” the nutrient rich bio-film that contains bacteria, algae, small crustaceans, and their mucus excretions.
During this migration period, it is imperative that disruptions to their feeding habits are minimized. Each time they take flight to avoid a human interaction or a running dog, they are using valuable energy needed for their long crossing. By keeping your dog on a leash and them giving a wide berth, you are significantly increasing their chances of survival.
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